The public showdown between AirAsia India and its pilot Gaurav Taneja witnessed a major development on June 29 as the pilot was sacked by the airline.
He was handed the termination notice hours after DGCA issued a showcause notice to Manish Uppal, AirAsia India's Head of Operations, over Taneja’s allegations of safety norm violations.
A popular vlogger, Taneja had claimed the airline suspended him for "standing up for safe operations of an aircraft and its passengers".
Taneja had alleged the airline was violating safety protocols, introduced to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, which could endanger the lives of hundreds of AirAsia India passengers.
In his post on June 15, he had alleged that he was made to work on his off days. He also alleged that protocols, that were in place in March when coronavirus was spreading, were not followed properly by the airline (although he does not outline which), and stated that from March 24 onwards, he refused to fly.
Another allegation that he made was that the airline asks its pilots to do 98% of landings in "Flap 3" mode, which allows it to save fuel. Failing to do this is considered a violation by the airline, he alleged. Flaps are part of wings of an aircraft and they are engaged to create a drag during a landing or a take-off.
Following his post, DGCA said it has taken cognisance of concerns raised against a 'particular airline'.
Meanwhile, according to sources, the airline said the termination was based on 'several violations'.
"The violations pertain to not appearing for an investigation started by the airline, going public on social media without following the due company process of redressal, breach of non-disclosure agreement and photography in the cockpit in breach of company and DGCA norms," a senior executive from the industry said.
Besides being a pilot, Taneja is also known for his YouTube channels. He has two channels on the video-sharing platforms: Flying Beast and Fit Muscle TV, having 2.92 million and 1.47 million subscribers, respectively.
While the first one is a travel vlogging channel where he shares his travel-related vlogs and other things related to his personal life, the second one is a fitness channel, where he provides tips and guidance for people who like bodybuilding and gym.